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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The Killing of Innocents Will Not Lead to Peace

August 28, 2003

Re "Attack on U.N. Will Fuel the Suffering of Middle East," Commentary, Aug. 24: Bouthaina Shaaban suggests that, with the killing of the United Nations chief envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, in Baghdad, the region has lost a champion of peace and caused the suffering of the Middle East to increase, yet she forgets that her country, Syria, has been in a state of war with its neighbor Israel since 1948. Israel was created by the decision of the members of the U.N. to partition the British mandate of Palestine into two areas, due to the conflicting claims of Muslims and Jews. Syria, together with other Arab countries, immediately attacked the decision of the U.N. and attempted to destroy the nascent state of Israel. Shaaban says that the "inferno in the Middle East could easily spread

Syria and other Arab countries have used power and war to try to achieve their goal: the destruction of a state created by a vote of the U.N. They have attacked this U.N.-created country constantly since its creation. Where is the "understanding" to which she refers? Where is the Arab desire for peace? Regardless of cease-fires, barely observed treaties, etc., peace will come between Jews and Muslims only when the Muslims decide to live in peace with Israel. Emil Schafer

Riverside

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Why is it that the Palestinian leadership has a problem understanding that peace can be achieved only through peace, and that killing innocent women and children makes it impossible for Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians? "Palestinian Leaders Propose a Renewed Truce With Israel" (Aug. 24) also concludes with a Hamas leader in Lebanon, Usama Hamdan, "not ready to take positions before we know all the details" [in further peace talks].

Perhaps you can get him this message. Stop killing innocent civilians and then sovereignty will be achieved for all Palestinians. It is that simple. Perhaps Hamas' inability to understand such simple instructions is clouded by its hatred for Jews. As long as the Palestinians hate Jews more than they love their own children, peace will be impossible to achieve.

Aron Davidsohn

Los Angeles

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Michael Ramirez again blames the Palestinians for all the violence that again raises its bloody head (cartoon, Commentary, Aug. 24). During the six weeks of "relative calm" before Aug. 19, 17 Palestinians were killed and 54 injured by Israeli forces. It seems the violence in the occupied Palestinian territories is tolerated as long as it is the Palestinians who die.

Eric Parish

Vista

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